Fred Thompson Sits Down With Sean Hannity

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," July 12, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Tuesday night, former Senator Fred Thompson made a surprise visit to our Freedom Concert in Atlanta, where he received a warm and, maybe some would say, presidential welcome.


HANNITY: ... I want to introduce to you, he is from the South. He is thinking about running for president. Let's give a warm Atlanta welcome to Senator Fred Thompson.


HANNITY: And I sat down with the '08 wild card to talk about his plans for America.


HANNITY: It is amazing that we've had non-binding resolutions. We — literally, the people that vote to send these guys to Iraq hope to cut off their funds. And it's like they didn't get their — approval rating of Congress is 16 percent. And now they're going to go try it again.

What's the definition of insanity?

FRED THOMPSON, FORMER SENATOR: Yes. Keep doing the same thing when it's not working, over and over again.

We were supposed to be waiting until September until we got a report back from Petraeus. And now, it looks like they've moved the time frame on them because of, you know, political pressure that they're feeding.

I think that the leadership in Washington and Congress simply does not understand the nature of the battle that we're in and the fact that it's global. In fact, it's going to last a long time. And the fact that Iraq is the front; it's not the war.

HANNITY: John Edwards says it's a bumper sticker.

THOMPSON: Well, you know, you can tell that to the fighting men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan to see if they think it's a bumper sticker.

HANNITY: Yes. That's a — before, well, let me ask you this. Before I get to the inevitable question about when you will announce a run for president.

Hang on. You've got a few supporters here.

Before I get to that question, how do you take this case and how do you convince people? We have politicians that are looking out for their political interests. But support among the American people has slipped as well.


HANNITY: How do you explain to them that this is important for their future in the long term, you know, and convince them that this is what we need to do?

THOMPSON: Well, you look at the past and you look at the future. And the past is that, for all throughout the '90s and even before, we were attacked all over the world, time and time and time again. And we didn't respond. We appeared to be weak.

We thought it wouldn't hit us directly at home. And then 9/11 proved that the oceans don't protect us anymore and that we had a real, real problem on our hands. That's the past.

Now, we're in a position where the worst thing in the world we could do is appear to be weak. Strength does you no good if you appear to be weak.

And to look at the future, I heard you mention some of the consequences long ago, you know. A new haven for Al Qaeda, the Sunni nation, seeing what's happening when Iran comes in and tries to take apart that country.

Conflict between all the major powers in that area, possibly nuclearized, before very long. But you know, I get back to the point. If our allies can't count on us in the area or our allies around the world, they don't feel like they can count on us, it's going to make for a more dangerous United States. And it's going to make for a more dangerous world in the long run.

The media gives — the media gives and takes away. The media right now — the media right now is portraying every bad thing they possibly can, you know, every day, every night around the clock. It depresses people and so forth.

But if we leave out of there and the wholesale slaughter takes place that everybody says will happen, we'll be getting the same pictures of the same innocent people dying day after day after day. And then people will be asking where's the United States at. And...

HANNITY: Let me ask — it seems wherever there is trouble — yes, that's you; that's you. Wherever there's trouble in the world, there is Iran.

I mean, they are supplying the insurgency going after our troops in Iraq. With the weaponry, they're killing our troops.

They're funding Hezbollah, Hamas. They've threatened to annihilate Israel. They thumb their nose at the world community. They're seeking nuclear weapons. Are we headed for an must we be willing to accept a military option against Iran? And I'm talking about in the near future.

THOMPSON: You have — you absolutely have to leave the military option on the table.

There's some things that could happen good about that, short of the military option. I think the people in that country have a pretty good chance of taking that problem of the table in terms of the current leadership right now.

They have rapid inflation, high unemployment. They're rationing gasoline now. People are angry. The Iranian National Guard is being attacked from time to time. I think we need communication with those people with those people back and forth and assist them to do what they can do.

Ultimately, I mean, let's put our cards on the table. As much as we'd like to do one thing or another, we've got to make sure that we know where those facilities are, how deep they're buried, what their capabilities are. And make sure the American people understand this time what the deal is.

We've got carriers out there — we've got carriers in the gulf there that they'll undoubtedly try to hit. They'll try to do things. You know, they control Hezbollah; they control Hamas. All kinds of things they can do in reaction to that.

We've got to be prepared, not just for that. But for that plus the aftermath of that. And it may — may come to that. But as I say, there may be some things that we can assist in that might help the situation before it does come to that.


HANNITY: For the record, he didn't say when he'd announce.

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